Nearly 1 in 10 Americans Suffer From Constant Ringing in the Ears

ringing in ears
Science & Medicine

A new study, published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, states that as many as 1 in 10 adults in the United States suffer from a constant ringing in their ears – known as tinnitus. This extremely irritating condition can contribute to major disruption in people’s lives with a constant ringing or roaring sound sometime so intense that many people can’t find any relief. It can even be a cause for impairment if it continues to bother sufferers.

Dr. Harrison Lin from the University of California at Irvine points out that this insufferable condition is likely related to noise exposure, whether experienced at work or during free time.

Lin studied a sample population of 75,764 people, 9.6 percent of which suffer with the condition. When expanded to account for the entire United States population, it suggests that 21.4 million adults live with this issue. [1]

About 27 percent of those people report having had to deal with the symptoms for over 15 years and one third of the people in the study said that the symptoms were nearly constantly present in their lives. About 7 percent of those who participated reported that it was a large disruptive problem in their lives, while 42 percent said it was a minor issue.

The study abstract concluded with:

“The prevalence of tinnitus in the United States is approximately 1 in 10 adults. Durations of occupational and leisure time noise exposures correlated with rates of tinnitus and are likely targetable risk factors. Management options suggested by the recently published AAO-HNSF guidelines were followed infrequently.”

Lin states that this estimation might actually be on the lower side, as previous studies state that many more people actually suffer with the debilitating condition. The constant ringing in the ears can contribute negatively to a person’s life in a number of ways, including making it difficult to process thoughts, sleep, and even deal with emotions.


While the study shows that the problem is quite common, it also proved that the problem isn’t necessarily taken seriously. Approximately 85 percent of those who experienced symptoms had never tried anything to relieve the problem, while about half of those participating have never told their doctor of their symptoms.

Although there is no know solution for tinnitus, there are a variety of treatments that are often recommended. These include white noise machines, hearing aids, and medication. It has been found that cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, can be successful in the treatment, but very few doctors ever actually recommend it. [2]


[1] Business Insider

[2] Live Science